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Poems About Texas

Table of Contents

  1. Longing for Texas by Judd Mortimer Lewis
  2. Spring in East Texas by Mary S. Fitzgerald
  3. The Defence of the Alamo by Joaquin Miller
  4. Lament for the Alamo by Arthur Guiterman
  5. Texas Book of Gold by Mary Saunders
  6. Texas by John Greenleaf Whittier
  7. The Lone Star State by William Lightfoot Visscher

  1. Longing for Texas

    by Judd Mortimer Lewis

    No, it isn't hot in Texas; and the cool night dews are falling,
    And the katydids are chirping in the grass beside the pool;
    And from out the moonlit distances the mocking-birds are calling,
    And I know the days are hazy and the nights perfumed and cool.

    And I know the jasmine's blooming as it bloomed in all its whiteness,
    And my heart is heavy in me—for I'm far away today,
    And my spirit lags forever, and my tread has lost its lightness,
    And I'm humming "Down in Dixie," and my heart throbs: "Look away!"

    Oh, it isn't hot in Texas, for the cool gulf breeze is blowing,
    And the cattle all are standing underneath the wide oak trees,
    Or are wending slowly homeward from the pasture, lowing, lowing;
    And a drone comes softly to me from the honey-laden bees.

    And I'm longing, longing, longing for the day of my homecoming,
    For the lowing of the cattle and the shadows on the stream,
    For the mocking-bird's far calling, and the laden bees' soft humming,
    And the night-dews falling coolly as the shadows in a dream.

    Oh, the rolling, rolling prairies, and the grasses waving, waving
    Like green billows neath the gulf breeze in the perfumed, purple gloam!
    Oh, my heart is heavy, heavy, and my eyes are craving, craving,
    For the fertile plains and forests of my far-off Texas home.

  2. Spring in East Texas

    by Mary S. Fitzgerald

    Today, I stood with aching throat,
    In sunny meadows, starred with gold,
    Where daisies open drowsy eyes
    When burnished buttercups unfold.

    And I have paused in wonderment
    Before a dazzling dogwood tree,
    To barter Care for shining dreams
    Beneath its green—white mystery.

    As close beside Spring's queenly bride,
    The redbuds' winsome sprays
    Are lifted to a mist-veiled sky,
    The treetops thrill to roundelays

    Of mocking-birds and cardinals
    Cascading silver-sweet,
    When wayward wild verbenas
    Spread a carpet at my feet.

    But oh! the witching fragrance,
    Of a fair crab-apple tree
    In crinkled, rosy-petalled frock,
    Awakens Grief,—and Ecstasy;

    For intermingled with delight,
    Comes grey Remembering,—
    And Joy that stabs my heart with pain:
    I've one less Texas Spring!

  3. The Defence of the Alamo

    by Joaquin Miller

    Santa Ana came storming, as a storm might come;
    There was rumble of cannon; there was rattle of blade;
    There was cavalry, infantry, bugle and drum—
    Full seven thousand in pomp and parade.
    The chivalry, flower of Mexico;
    And a gaunt two hundred in the Alamo!

    And thirty lay sick, and some were shot through;
    For the siege had been bitter, and bloody, and long.
    "Surrender, or die!"—"Men, what will you do?"
    And Travis, great Travis, drew sword, quick and strong;
    Drew a line at his feet...."Will you come?
    Will you go?
    I die with my wounded, in the Alamo."

    The Bowie gasped, "Lead me over that line!"
    Then Crockett, one hand to the sick, one hand to his gun,
    Crossed with him; then never a word or a sign
    Till all, sick or well, all, all save but one,
    One man. Then a woman stepped, praying, and slow
    Across; to die at her post in the Alamo.

    Then that one coward fled, in the night, in that night
    When all men silently prayed and thought
    Of home; of to-morrow; of God and the right,
    Till dawn; and with dawn came Travis's cannon-shot,
    In answer to insolent Mexico,
    From the old bell-tower of the Alamo.

    Then came Santa Ana; a crescent of flame!
    Then the red escalade; then the fight hand to hand;
    Such an unequal fight as never had name
    Since the Persian hordes butchered that doomed Spartan band.
    All day—all day and all night; and the morning? so slow,
    Through the battle smoke mantling the Alamo.

    Now silence! Such silence! Two thousand lay dead
    In a crescent outside! And within? Not a breath
    Save the gasp of a woman, with gory gashed head,
    All alone, all alone there, waiting for death;
    And she but a nurse. Yet when shall we know
    Another like this of the Alamo?

    Shout "Victory, victory, victory ho!"
    I say 't is not always to the hosts that win!
    I say that the victory, high or low,
    Is given the hero who grapples with sin,
    Or legion or single; just asking to know
    When duty fronts death in his Alamo.

  4. Lament for the Alamo

    by Arthur Guiterman

    Davy Crockett in his woodman dress,
    His shirt of the hide of a yearling doe
    And his coonskin cap and his rifle, Bess—
    Dead he lies in the Alamo.

    Ned the Bee-hunter with the coal-black curls,
    Straight as a spear shaft, lithe as a bow,
    With a song for the world and a laugh for the girls—
    Dead he lies in the Alamo.

    Colonel Bowie of the twelve-inch blade,
    Gentle of speech and sure of blow,
    Prone on the heap that his sword arm made—
    Dead he lies in the Alamo.

    Stout were their hearts the red week long
    That they strove with the hordes of Mexico,
    But their powder failed and the odds were strong—
    Dead they lie in the Alamo.

    Back to back in the slaughter pen,
    Steel to the steel of a ruthless foe,
    Travis fell with his nine-score men—
    Dead they lie in the Alamo.

    Gone from the wood and the waterside,
    Gone from the haunts of the buffalo,
    They ride no more where they loved to ride—
    Dead they lie in the Alamo.

    Texans, plainsmen, pioneers,
    Pay the debt that your rifles owe:
    Pay your debt of blood and tears
    For those who died in the Alamo!

    Remember the Alamo!

  5. Texas Book of Gold

    by Mary Saunders

    Our Texas has her Book of Gold,
    And names and deeds are 'blazoned there
    That would have fired the bards of old
    To sing in epic verses fair.

    Not mine, the high heroic lyre,
    I can not reach its lofty tone,
    Far homelier themes my muse inspire,
    She lends me songs to please my own.

    How conquered Rome, how fought the Greeks,
    Let Homer sing and Virgil tell;
    My untaught muse of Texas speaks,
    And loves upon that theme to dwell.

    My state, a crown of laurel twine
    For those whose arms thy freedom won;
    No worthier warriors lived than thine,
    No braver deeds by men were done.

    Gray, glorious walls where Travis led
    His band to meet a death sublime;
    Where Crockett fought and Bowie bled,
    To win for Texas breathing time.

    Their death, ah, few such deaths may die;
    Made possible Jacinto's fame,
    Where Houston's victor star rose high
    And vengeance struck in Fannin's name.

    Near quaint old Nacogdoches lies The gallant Rusk in nameless grave;
    Magnolia fragrance round him sighs, And towering pines above him wave.

    Brave Milam sleeps the dreamless sleep
    In sacred soil for which he bled,
    Where tender warden women keep
    About the city of the dead.

    Johnson, who wielded pen and sword
    For Texas, found an honored grave
    Where tropic blossoms burn the sward
    And lime and orange o'er him wave.

    And some yet live to hear our praise—
    With feeble forms, with silvery hair—
    Oh, make their few remaining days
    My state, thy reverential care.

    Thy countless heroes soundly sleep,
    Clasped closely to thy ransomed breast;
    Thy tender dews above them weep,
    Thy brightest blossoms gem their rest.

    Some day, above each nameless grave
    That mutely chides a thankless land,
    Where now soft, feathery grasses wave,
    Shall monumental marble stand.

    And boyhood pausing in his play
    To read the legend graven there,
    Shall rise with heaving breast and say,
    "So I for mine own land could dare."

    What glorious tales our annals hold,
    What laurels spring where brave men bled;
    As Venice prized her Book of Gold,
    We prize the roll-call of our dead.

    They shine like stars upon my page,
    And lustre to its dullness lend,
    They roll in music down the age,
    With heroes yet unborn to blend.

    Grand civic wreaths thy sisters twine,
    Give them thy praise, my star-crowned state,
    A prouder heritage is thine,
    The fame of those who made thee great.

  6. Texas

    by John Greenleaf Whittier


    Up the hillside, down the glen,
    Rouse the sleeping citizen;
    Summon out the might of men!

    Like a lion growling low,—
    Like a night-storm rising slow,—
    Like the tread of unseen foe,—

    It is coming,—it is nigh!
    Stand your homes and altars by;
    On your own free thresholds die.

    Clang the bells in all your spires;
    On the gray hills of your sires
    Fling to heaven your signal-fires.

    From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
    Unto Berkshire's tallest peak,
    Let the flame-tongued heralds speak.

    Oh, for God and duty stand,
    Heart to heart and hand to hand
    Round the old graves of the land.

    Whoso shrinks or falters now,
    Whoso to the yoke would bow,
    Brand the craven on his brow!

    Freedom's soil hath only place
    For a free and fearless race,—
    None for traitors false and base.

    Perish party,—perish clan;
    Strike together while ye can,
    Like the arm of one strong man.

    Like that angel's voice sublime,
    Heard above a world of crime,
    Crying of the end of time;—

    With one heart and with one mouth,
    Let the North unto the South
    Speak the word befitting both:

    “What though Issachar be strong!
    Ye may load his back with wrong
    Overmuch and over long:

    “Patience with her cup o'errun,
    With her weary thread outspun,
    Murmurs that her work is done.

    “Make our Union-bond a chain,
    Weak as tow in Freedom's strain
    Link by link shall snap in twain.

    “Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
    Bind the starry cluster up,
    Shattered over heaven's blue cope!

    “Give us bright though broken rays,
    Rather than eternal haze,
    Clouding o'er the full-orbed blaze.

    “Take your land of sun and bloom;
    Only leave to Freedom room
    For her plough, and forge, and loom;

    “Take your slavery-blackened vales;
    Leave us but our own free gales,
    Blowing on our thousand sails.

    “Boldly, or with treacherous art,
    Strike the blood-wrought chain apart; Break the Union's mighty heart;

    “Work the ruin, if ye will;
    Pluck upon your heads an ill
    Which shall grow and deepen still.

    “With your bondman's right arm bare,
    With his heart of black despair,
    Stand alone, if stand ye dare!

    “Onward with your fell design;
    Dig the gulf and draw the line:
    Fire beneath your feet the mine:

    “Deeply, when the wide abyss
    Yawns between your land and this,
    Shall ye feel your helplessness.

    “By the hearth, and in the bed,
    Shaken by a look or tread,
    Ye shall own a guilty dread.

    “And the curse of unpaid toil,
    Downward through your generous soil
    Like a fire shall burn and spoil.

    “Our bleak hills shall bud and blow,
    Vines our rocks shall overgrow,
    Plenty in our valleys flow;—

    “And when vengeance clouds your skies,
    Hither shall ye turn your eyes,
    As the lost on Paradise!

    “We but ask our rocky strand,
    Freedom's true and brother band,
    Freedom's strong and honest hand;—

    “Valleys by the slave untrod,
    And the Pilgrim's mountain sod,
    Blesséd of our fathers' God!”

  7. The Lone Star State

    by William Lightfoot Visscher

    Empire is thine, vast, wide and strong;
    Land of heroes, sun and song;
    Your history is an epic and a glory.
    From surging sea across the plain,
    Far to the West, you hold domain,
    And honor lights thy brilliant story—
    Proud Texas.

    By deeds of true and gallant men,
    Thy place was won, and in the ken
    Of all the world, thy star is highest, brightest,
    A sovereign State, you fought the way,
    From out a dark and threatening day,
    To where the skies are bluest, purest, lightest—
    Brave Texas.

    Vast empire at the Southern gates,
    Regal amid the radiant States,
    And crowned by progress, commerce and success,
    Thou reignest, royal, mighty one,
    Beneath eternal summer's sun,
    And in the balmiest breezes' soft caress—
    Queen Texas.

    Houston and Austin are thine own;
    Men greater than the proudest throne
    May ever boast, except in pomp and flourish.
    Crockett, Bowie and the Alamo,
    And Travis, in thy story glow,
    All these and more thy records fondly cherish,
    Free Texas.

    Bright and glorious, from afar,
    Lighting thy way, the one Lone Star,
    From out thy clear, blue sky, is splendent shining,
    And all thy sons will sing thy song,
    In accents high, and bold, and strong,
    Their wreaths of love about thee ever twining,
    Dear Texas.

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